Blogs

Bifurcated American Politics

Bifurcated means to split or divide something into two parts. It is a term often used to describe trees, but today it can also be applied to our politics in America. It seems that right and left, liberal and conservative, Republican and Democratic have never been more at odds than in our recent history.  read more »

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Webinar: The Future of Rural America

New Geography publisher Delore Zimmerman will host a webinar next week discussing the future of rural america. The webinar is part of the Rural Broadband Initiative organized by Northern Minnesota's Blandin Foundation.

From Blandin:  read more »

The IOC rejects Chicago in the First Round

The International Olympic Committee has rejected Chicago in the first round. A delegation of President Obama, Michelle Obama, Oprah, Mayor Daley and others failed to convince the IOC. President Obama made an impassioned plea to the IOC:

"Chicago is a city where the practical and the inspirational exist in harmony; where visionaries who made no small plans rebuilt after a great fire and taught the world to reach new heights," Obama told the IOC's members. "I urge you to choose Chicago."  read more »

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One Homeowner, Two Mortgage Holders, No Lien!

I’ve been following this for a while and writing about it on NewGeography.com since March – not all mortgage-backed securities (MBS) are actually backed by mortgages. So when the homeowner goes into bankruptcy, there’s no way for the MBS holder to prove a lien on the house and the judge awards the bondholder bupkus.  read more »

Why the feds should stay out of high-speed rail (and most transportation)

Set aside for a minute whether high-speed rail (HSR) makes sense or not on a cost-benefit basis. Regardless of whether it does or not (and some smart people are arguing not), I'd like to make the argument that federal funding has no place in HSR. Instead, it should be left to individual states or regional state coalitions.
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Taiwan’s Failing High Speed Rail Line Faces Government Takeover

According to Railway Technology, Taiwan’s struggling high speed rail line, the only fully private and commercial high speed rail system in the world, will be taken over by the government his week. The line has been plagued by disappointing ridership levels totaling approximately one-third projected levels. The company has generated insufficient revenues to meet its debt obligations and had previously renegotiated its bank credit to substantially lower interest rates.  read more »

High Speed Rail in Springfield: "The Whole City Would Look Like Crap"

Not every local official is smitten with the romance of high-speed rail. Graphic evidence of this was provided by Springfield, Illinois mayor Tim Davlin, who expressed his concern that the proposed rail overpasses would slice the city in half. Davlin told the State Journal Register that the “Whole city would look like crap.” This is a problem faced not only by historic Springfield, the state’s capital and location of many Abraham Lincoln sites.  read more »

Driving for Popsicles: Kidnapping Hysteria in America

Not long ago, I saw an urban planner speak about the “Popsicle test” as a barometer for healthy urban design: in an ideal community, a child is able to safely walk a short distance from their home to buy a Popsicle. In such a community, kids have the freedom and independence to enjoy a carefree childhood walk without having to worry about traffic or neighborhood bullies.  read more »

Recession Job Losses and Recovery in Midwest Cities

The Windy Citizen pointed me at coverage of metro area job losses in the recession. Here is how the 12 cities I principally cover in this blog stacked up, sorted in descending order of percentage losses:  read more »

American Hobbit Houses

Soon after President Obama took office, a proposed plan to “develop federal policies to induce states and local communities to embrace ‘smart growth’ land use strategies” was announced.

This “Livable Communities Program” is intended to save land and clean up the environment. It is seen as encouraging denser housing arrangements to deter automobile use and accommodate the transit industry, according to goals set by the Secretaries of HUD, EPA and Transportation.  read more »

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